At the risk of offending a few of you out there, I am no great admirer of British royalty – or any other royalty for that matter. I am a republican at heart and feel that everyone should earn their position in society, not be born into it.

Having said that, people obviously need someone to look up to and while the obvious figurehead for a nation is a powerful leader, the calibre of leadership in this country is not likely to inspire anyone at the moment and looking at our current crop of pratwinkles in Parliament, that is not going to change soon.

In fact, Britain’s greatest asset at the moment is the Queen. Even I – ever cynical though I am – admire that indomitable little lady. She works harder than most people half her age and earns every penny of the huge fortune she was born into. It will be a very sad day for Britain and the Commonwealth when she turns up her toes and heads for the Great Unknown.

The Duke of Edinburgh also does well for the country. Although officially retired, he popped up at a service gathering last week, looking fit and strong for a man who has almost reached his century.

But after those two, the royal family have far too many hangers on, which we the tax payers are forking out for. Princess Ann works hard, but most of them stay at home and take advantage of us.

Now we have the incredible story of Prince Harry and his American actress taking us all for a ride with a two point four million pound refurbishment of their ‘cottage’ in the countryside. Hang on a minute, Your Princeship! Use your own ruddy money damnit! And that double million is only the start of it. Extra security costing a cool six hundred thousand and something a year has had to be laid on and there are bills still coming in for the work being done.

For me this has echoes of Robert Mugabe and Gucci Grace. They spent other peoples’ money as though it was water and between them – and a few of their cronies – they bankrupted a prosperous little country.

I housesit for a senior member of the British aristocracy (his daughter is married to a minor royal) and both he and his countess are scathing on the subject of Harry and his popsy. Admittedly my tame Earl was born into the system and went to Eton (which he hated!) but he is a down to earth fellow, possibly due to many years spent in Africa. It is quite amazing how that continent teaches everyone the true meaning of life.

Why can’t this ginger-headed popinjay of a prince, who really has no useful role to play think occasionally about the people whose money he and his actress are happily using. He tells us that he ‘values his privacy.’ Sorry Chum, you forfeited that through the accident of your birth and you can’t have it both ways. You court the media when you need publicity, but shun it when that suits you.

Start earning your keep and looking after the ordinary folk Harry, stop your wife from flaunting her/yours – no more likely ‘our’ – wealth with her lavish outfits and jewellery and generally behave like the down-to-earth fellow, you claim you want to be.

That is a nice thought but I fear it is not going to come about!

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